The Temple of the Flower was the general name for the temples of the Jabharil, the principal goddess of the Kalhari culture of Drow, in the subsurface world of Kazrrad. In more specific terms, in story context, it refers to the main Jabharil temple in the Negeémi capital city of Negeémiliel. There, it quickly grew to become a major religious and political center in the 25th Century a.a.H.
Little is known of the physical appearance and location of the temple. It is known that it was large and grand in design to appear reasonably impressive and accommodate throngs of people and fulfill various functions. It was on a street and had sufficient courtyard and internal space to be the site of a major festival.
It is probable that multiple buildings, both attached and unconnected, served as parts of the temple. It is likely that buildings were added on an ad hoc basis as the religion grew rapidly, and the main temple needed to accommodate hundreds of worshippers.
Many other secondary temples existed in the metropolitan city to serve the bulk of the Jabharil worshippers.
The temple served various roles. Mostly religious in nature, of course; but also socio-political roles as well. It was a center of resistance to the existing social status of the city and the primacy of the Goddess of War, Negeé. The religion had 'Fanatics' who were militarized and were called the Cult of the Flower, a term that most specifically referred to fanatics opposed to the dominant religion and governance, but could refer more generally to all the Jabharil worshippers in the Negeémi hegemony.
The temple was the center of worship, but also one of coordinating illegal activities of the Fanatics of Jabharil. The fanatics supposedly were 'out of control' Jabharil enthusiasts, but were actually operating under the guidance of the central temple in the city and High Priestess Ma'Az.
Aside from being a place of worship for a charismatic religion, the temple also provided food for the poor, and also used food to buy the good will and very often the literal services and loyalty of its worshippers by providing food and money as a loan to be repaid later. Often in the form of service, often criminal service such as to violently demonstrate, or engage in assault, or to steal for the church.
As Jabharil is the Kalhari Goddess of Love and Fertility, sexual acts, as in ritual sex, or otherwise, take place in the temple as a matter of course. A sort of congregational orgy being part of weekly worship. Also, prostitution under a thin veneer of religion also takes place there and is a source of funds.
The temple had secret passages that led to a building across the street, which had a secret chambers beneath that was made over into a dungeon for captives of the church. Specifically, girls who were Initiated to Negeé who were kidnapped and held for ransom. This was another means of gaining funds and exerting influence over the Acolytes in the government or law enforcement.
The temple not only traded food for service, but provided capital as well, legally or illegally. Much of the money that the temple acquired came from use of the temple as a means of converting stolen goods to money for which the temple would receive a hefty fee. Indeed, many fanatics were thieves who evolved into plying their trade directly to the church. Likewise, many fanatics would become thieves for just that purpose in serving the church as well in addition, or instead, of committing crimes of assault, murder and vandalism.
Many persons live in the temple. The priestesses, of course, but also some of the sentries guarding the temple, and also many of the prostitutes and slaves who work at the temple. One such temple slave was Larylene.
The Jabharil religion might have been present in the city of Negeémiliel for centuries, but it grew greatly with the acquisition of the Kalhari southern drow culture as a vassal in the 24th Century a.a.H. with the importation of Jabharil worshipper slaves and the great increase of traders. Additionally, the socio-political conditions of the city greatly encouraged the growth of the cult amongst the poor (but amongst other classes as well), as a center of political change if not one of religion.
A Negeémi former prostitute and madam, Ma'az, would be an early convert, and would advance to become the high priestess of Jabharil in the city. Her understanding of the culture and conditions would be instrumental in the rapid growth of the cult.
When the main temple was actually founded is unknown, but it could not be very old in its use as the Jabharil Temple. It is likely only decades old, although, doubtlessly, much of its structures were preexisting and were refitted for use as the temple.
As the religion grew, the temple was repeatedly expanded by other structures (and joining of galleries carved in the rock substructure) were joined together. Many subsidiary temples were opened throughout the city, as either grand temples or humble places of worship in houses. It would be the opening of a secondary temple that aroused the wrath of the High Sorceress Khariel Baener of the Negeé Temple of Doom and would result in its sentries being murdered.
Center for MinionsEdit
The Cult of the Flower became allied with the Negeémi Populist Party at some point in the past, probably several years earlier. The Fanatics and the church would act as disposable minions for the Acolytes of Negeé who wished their political party to wrest control from the ruling, conservative, Negeémi Senatorial Party. In exchange, the Populists promised to officially promote the Jabharil church in the future, but acted to protect the 'Cult of the Flower' in the meantime. Hence, the official, and ostensibly peaceful, church was nearly untouchable, but its fanatics were typically and summarily given capital level offenses for most crimes.
Maylara Maltree StoryEdit
In 2428 a.a.H., the Temple of the Flower was the setting of a portion of the story, when the spy of the Senatorial Party, Maylara Maltree infiltrated the temple and learned of secret information by acting as a sentry in the temple, and as posing as a temple slave. She would free the captive Initiated girls held in the temple during their principal annual festival.
As a result of the brief Negeémi civil war and the Dahl'Arak Coup, given the temple's leading role in acting against the State, it most likely that the Temple of the Flower has been closed. High Priestess Ma'Az either escaped as many of the foreign Kahlhari sentries did, or else she's likely been executed.